Tabla genius Zakir Hussain: “music is one of the only positive energy forces left in this world”

Something we easily tend to forget is well put here by tabla genius Zakir Hussain. When asked “what is music?” he reflects on the positive energy of music, while questioning at the same time the mindset of politicians who only hear the drums of war.


My Top 10 of World Music releases 2012

01. Shankar Tucker – The Shrutibox (Vol.2)
02. Wu Man and Master Musicians from the Silk Route – Borderlands, Music of Central Asia, Vol. 10
03. Ebo Taylor – Appia Kwa Bridge
04. Debashish Bhattacharya – Madeira
05. Alex Wilson – Salsa Veritas
06. Kala Ramnath – Aavartan
07. Blue Flamingo – A Search for CMS
08. Estrella Morente – Autorretrato
09. Saskia Rao de Haas – The Indian Cello
10. The Touré-Raichel Collective – The Tel Aviv Session

I also published this list at Concertzender’s weblog, where you can find 2012 world music top 10 lists by other afficionados.
What were your highlights among new releases in 2012? Let me know, I’d love to hear about it!


Music by accident – Gabriela Montero’s ‘Piece for Ruth’

Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero is known for her musical multitalent. She’s an internationally renowned classical pianist and equally famous as a brilliant improviser on the keyboard. Add to that her talent as a composer. Proof of this is A Piece for Ruth, her first composition for piano and violin. The title of the composition refers to Ruth Palmer, one of Britain’s finest young violinists, who was hit six years ago in London’s Fleet Street by a motorbike driven by… the younger brother of Gabriela’s boyfriend. This accident – you can read more about it here – inspired the writing of the music for Ruth, who’s now a good friend of Gabriela. On Friday December 7th 2012 A Piece for Ruth premiered in the Caspary Auditorium of New York’s Rockefeller University – see the video below – with Gabriela Montero on piano and Ruth Palmer on violin. Wonderful music and performance. Lovin’ it! 🙂


Concerten fenomenaal slidegitarist Debashish Bhattacharya in Amsterdam (08/12/2012), Utrecht (09/12/2012) en Brussel (10/12/2012)

Begin december 2012 is India’s slidegitaar-fenomeen Debashish Bhattacharya op tournee in Nederland en België: op zaterdagavond 8 december in het Tropentheater in Amsterdam, op zondagmiddag 9 december bij RASA in Utrecht en op maandagavond 10 december bij BOZAR in Brussel. Al eerder besteedde ik op m’n blog aandacht aan deze fantastische ragamuzikant uit Calcutta en ook in enkele van mijn programma’s op de Concertzender en bij de Wereldomroep gaf ik ruim baan aan zijn zingende snarenspel.

Ragaslider Debashish (rechts) en z’n broer Subashish (links) op tabla

Bij zijn optredens wordt Debashish ritmisch ondersteund door z’n broer Subashish, een van India’s beste tablaspelers. De optredens in het Tropentheater, bij RASA en in BOZAR zijn een must voor de liefhebber van de Noord-Indiase raga, maar ook voor muziekliefhebbers die minder vertrouwd zijn met ragamuziek is een optreden van Debashish Bhattacharya absoluut een geweldige muzikale belevenis.


Valentina Lisitsa’s Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.3 with LSO released by Decca

On 3 December 2012 another piece of Valentina Lisitsa’s long awaited Rachmaninoff recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra was released by Decca: Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.3. Earlier on, in October 2012, Decca released Piano Concerto No.2. In January/February 2013 Decca will release Lisitsa’s recordings of Piano Concerti No.1 and No.4 and also the Paganini Variations. The four concerti and the variations are initially released separately and online in mp3-quality. Around March 2013 the complete set will be boxed and released on CD. Below a few videos concerning the Rach#3 concerto as played by Valentina Lisitsa, some of them material from the above mentioned and now being released 2009-2010 Rachmaninoff Project. Two of the videos below show some of my own footage.

Decca-promo on Valentina Lisitsa’s channel

Hey, I also did a short promo 🙂

Rachmaninoff Concerto No.3 “Solo” version, 1st movement (with ossia Cadenza )

Rachmaninoff Concerto No.3 “Solo” version, 2nd movement

Rachmaninoff Concerto No.3 “Solo” version, 3rd movement

Valentina Lisitsa / Solotake Recordings Rachmaninoff Concerto No.3, filmed by me at Abbey Road Studios